On the evening of Tuesday, April 30, 2019, the City of Denton was impacted by a severe thunderstorm event that resulted in downed trees and power lines, power outages, and damages to homes, vehicles, and other structures.
No injuries have been reported due to the storm.
The peak of the storm event lasted from approximately 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. during which heavy rains and high wind were reported across much of the city of Denton. Earlier in the day, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a Tornado Watch for much of the afternoon and evening. At approximately 6 p.m., City of Denton Emergency Management staff activated the City’s outdoor warning sirens when the NWS radar indicated the likelihood of tornadic activity. The activation of the warning sirens coincided with the issuance of a Tornado Warning by the NWS.
Immediately after the Tornado Warning was lifted, City staff began a thorough survey of the storm damage. There were reports of downed trees across the city, localized flooding in areas, and pockets of power outages. The northeast area of town (north of University Drive and east of Sherman Drive) experienced the most damage with reports of downed trees and power lines blocking roadways, structural damage to homes and vehicles due to downed trees, and minor structural damage due to wind.
The NWS later confirmed that a brief tornado occurred at around 6:56 p.m. in the northeast area of town with an estimated path extending from the Texas Woman’s University (TWU) campus northward for approximately one mile. NWS staff will be in Denton beginning May 1 to examine the storm damage and provide additional information.
Storm Response and Reported Impacts
The following outlines a summary of the storm response and reported impacts.
Debris Removal and Clean-Up Efforts
- The Denton Fire Department responded to 37 calls between 5:45 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. and quickly maximized all units. One lightning-related structure fire occurred at a home near the intersection of Lakeview Boulevard and Edwards Road, which was quickly extinguished. A few water rescue calls from stranded motorists were received.
- The Denton Police Department also quickly maximized all units responding to calls. The patrol day shift was held over until 10:30 p.m. for a total of 21 officers and four supervisors responding to calls. Three public safety dispatchers were held over to handle incoming calls. Traffic was impacted by the storm debris, with police officers providing significant traffic control assistance, including at the intersection of East University Drive and Frame Street. All major roads are open to traffic at this time. The Police Department responded to 111 calls for service between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
- A total of 19 employees from Streets and Drainage were called in and worked until midnight to respond to calls of trees blocking roadways and localized temporary flooding on streets. Only two major traffic signals were impacted by the storm at Londonderry and Teasley Lane and at Windsor Drive and Longfellow Lane. Both signals are fully operational at this time and City crews continue to inspect and assess impacts to traffic signals and signs.
- Denton Municipal Electric (DME) has reported that the storm event caused sixteen outages which operated nine (9) substation breakers, impacting a total of 3,695 customers, with 2,680 customers experiencing only a momentary outage due to protective relay equipment automatically closing the circuit to restore power. Crews quickly responded to begin repair work and clear the roads of any electrical hazards. The most significant impact to the electrical system occurred near the intersection of East Windsor Drive and Longfellow Lane, where the storm left multiple electrical poles and a transformer on the ground. This damage resulted in a loss of power to 1,015 customers beginning at approximately 6:57 p.m. Power was restored to two-thirds of these customers by 8:37 p.m. with the remaining customers gradually receiving power throughout the night. As of 6:30 a.m. today, all electric service had been restored. Fourteen electric personnel worked overnight to make the repairs and safely restore electric service.
- The Denton Natatorium and Water Works Park will be closed for the morning of Wednesday, May 1, to remove extensive debris and perform equipment maintenance after a power outage. While aquatic programs are canceled for the entire day, City staff expects the pools to be open in the afternoon. Denia Recreation Center suffered minor flood damage due to the storm but will remain open during its normal scheduled hours.
- City parks, notably Avondale and Nette Shultz Parks, experienced downed trees and debris. Parks and Recreation crews are working to clear the parks and inspect all playground equipment. All parks will remain open during their normal scheduled hours.
City of Denton crews will be working over the coming days to remove debris from streets and sidewalks, repair traffic signs and signals, and document the storm damage.
Beginning this afternoon, May 1, through Saturday, May 4, Solid Waste will be picking up tree, brush, and yard waste and debris generated as a result of the storm curbside daily at no cost for the impacted area in the northeast area of town. Tree limbs should be cut down to between 4 feet and 8 feet in length, and tree stumps should be broken down. Below is an example of the maximum size length that Solid Waste trucks, equipment, and personnel will be able to pick up.
Residents with any questions are advised to call Customer Service at (940) 349-8700. Residential customers may also bring yard waste and debris generated as a result of the storm to the landfill, 1527 S Mayhill Road, for disposal at no cost through Saturday, May 4. Beginning next week, curbside collection can be scheduled with Solid Waste by calling Customer Service at (940) 349-8700.
If using a commercial tree trimmer, residents are also advised to request an itemized statement of work and invoice prior to beginning work. These businesses may charge for hauling and disposal, while these services are provided at no cost by Solid Waste for waste and debris generated as a result of the storm.
The likelihood of severe weather increases during the spring and summer months and Denton residents are encouraged to use caution during severe weather events, including following local news, National Weather Service reports, and signing up for CodeRED on the City’s website. Residents should have a plan of action in the event a Tornado Warning is issued. Seeking indoor shelter, avoiding windows, and taking cover in an interior room or basement are critical steps to increasing one’s safety during a severe weather event. After the storm is over, streets may contain hazards and debris, and the public must use caution if immediate travel cannot be avoided. More information relating to severe weather safety is available from the National Weather Service at www.weather.gov
Contact: Sarah Kuechler, (940) 349-8356, Sarah.Kuechler@cityofdenton.com